March is over. They say the month is supposed to come in like a wintery lion and go out like a lamb frolicking in sunshine. This particular month slunk away in a trail of dirty slush like a mutant lion-lamb hybrid. But I got a book published in March, so for me the month was glorious.
Addendum Books organized the launch party. PW covered it here. We drank hot chocolate and listened to live music from Dreamland Faces.
DreamHaven and Red Balloon and Wild Rumpus and Uncle Hugo’s and Birchbark Books all hosted splendid events. This town is so very rich in bookstores.
Wild Rumpus made me a great big mask.
Louise Erdrich joined me at Birchbark and gave me a hat.
It was a very good month. The frozen resentment of mutant lion-lambs can’t possibly compete with such celebrations and hospitality.
I leave you with links to three articles:
Nancy Holder asked me all sorts of excellent questions at The Enchanted Inkpot.
The Route 19 Writers blogged about favorite passages from Goblin Secrets and offer insights into why those particular bits of the book worked for them.
Amy Goetzman wrote about me and unsettling stories for MinnPost.
And that’s all for now.
Two entirely different podcasts decided to interview me. One dedicated to the challenges of making art while simultaneously raising small children. The other is hosted by the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. Both were very fun conversations to be in; hopefully they’re also fun to listen to.
Pratfalls of Parenting Episode 39
William Alexander on Fantasy & Social Theory
Also! My second audiobook just arrived in the mail.
And today I blogged about music and magic at the Enchanted Inkpot. That doesn’t have much of anything to do with my voice, but it happened today so I should probably mention it.
Tomorrow my second novel comes out and we will party.
LADIES & GENTLEMEN! And anyone and everyone else not represented by either of those categories! My second novel will exist on bookshelves next week. It’s not precisely a sequel to Goblin Secrets; the two happen at the same time, in the same city, and involve several of the same characters, but the books also stand alone. You can see them unfold in the background of each other, if you look…
I’ll be throwing several parties and readings throughout the month of March. Come celebrate with books and masks and music! And also chocolate.
Dr. Chocolate’s Chocolate Chateau, hosted by Addendum Books with live music by Dreamland Faces: Tuesday, March 5th at 7pm
DreamHaven Books (with more live music!):
Friday, March 8th at 7pm
Red Balloon Bookshop
: Saturday, March 9th at 2pm
: Saturday, March 16th at 1pm
Uncle Hugo’s: Sunday, March 17th at 1pm
Birchbark Books: Saturday, March 30th at 2pm
I’ll be reading for the Second Story Series this very Saturday, with Kelly Barnhill, at 2pm in the Loft Literary Center. There will be thematically-appropriate food. I look forward to finding out what sort of goblinish victuals our hosts will provide.
Also! I’ve been interviewed a couple of times recently, once for Write On! Radio (which is still streamable, but not for much longer) and once for the UVM alumni magazine. Here’s my favorite bit of the print interview:
“If we deny kids unsettling stories, then we deny them the very best hope that they’ll have for dealing with unsettling events,” he says, with mischief creeping around the edges of his voice. “So we have a responsibility to tell unsettling stories.”
Louise Erdrich’s novel The Round House is currently enjoying a massive swack of literary attention and awards. This is good. This is as it should be. The book is amazing. It’s a rich and strange portrait of boyish adolescence. It’s about Star Trek, the awesomeness of Worf, and how reaching adulthood often requires imitating Captain Jean Luc Picard. It’s about ghosts that aren’t necessarily the ghosts of the dead. It’s about rez life and rez law. But over and around all other subjects and concerns, the book chronicles the aftermath of sexual assault. It also dramatizes the impossible legal tangle of that aftermath, given that reservation law could not prosecute non-Native perpetrators.
Novels usually disavow any connection to reality. The fine print reminds us that “this is a work of fiction.” But check out Erdrich’s version of that disclaimer, typed up at the end: “The events in this book are loosely based on so many different cases, reports, and stories that the outcome is pure fiction.”
Go back and read that sentence again. It handles its rhetoric like a kung-fu master, moving almost too fast to see. “This story is made-up. And yet it did happen in one way or another, over and over again, in so many different cases. And it is still happening. All of this is fiction. All of this is true.”
Now we need to talk about politics and current events.
The Tribal Law and Order Act, passed in 2010, did much to challenge the basic, fundamental injustice dramatized by The Round House: abuse and assault committed by non-Indians on reservation land became answerable to reservation law. A new provision in the Violence Against Women Act would do more. This is good. This is generations overdue. But the GOP is blocking the hell out of the Violence Against Women Act.
I’m not entirely comfortable posting about politics in a blog about kidlit, but we need to be talking about this. The Round House won the National Book Award, and yet I’ve seen zero press connecting the novel to the current struggle in the House and Senate.
Every other email asks us to call our reps for one reason or another. It’s exhausting, I know. But call your reps. Or write to them. Ask whether or not they support violent misogyny. Demand an explanation for their support of violent misogyny. Get the VAWA reauthorized. Honor the magnificent literary achievement of The Round House by answering the specific legal injustice it dramatizes. Because it’s still happening. All of it is fiction, and all of it is true.